Butler County superintendent to make discipline main focus

Updated: Jul. 31, 2017 at 4:17 PM CDT
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(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

BUTLER CO., AL (WSFA) - Dr. John Strycker hit the streets Monday morning in Greenville.

"So, we're gonna have a good season?" he asked a group of cheerleaders at Greenville High School.

While visiting the school, Strycker shook hands with incoming students and then it was on to the downtown merchants on Main Street. Strycker encouraged those he encountered to tell him what's doing right and wrong as he begins his new job.

"I am more about getting out in the community and attending events," Strycker told a small group gathering for morning coffee.

Strycker uses his life-long love for running as a testimony to be better than the day before, the same drive he intends to improve public education in Butler County. He runs around eight miles per day.

"I am very focused on the team I am putting together," he explained. "I feel very good. We've come a long way."

Much like his run every morning, Strycker hopes to cover a lot of miles during his tenure as superintendent. The first assignment he plans to tackle right off the bat? School discipline.

"It's not chaotic but we need to tighten up a little bit. If you were one of my building principals, I would tell you that 'look I'm evaluating you this first year. I will be in your building often," he said.

The new superintendent also has plans to upgrade facilities. For example, Strycker was somewhat surprised by the poor condition of the Greenville High School outdoor track. It's made of asphalt, not the rubberized base most tracks are made of these days.

"This is not suitable for the great athletes we have here at Greenville High School," he said.

While confident he will make a difference, he admitted to a fear that often grips new superintendents starting over in a new town, a new state. Dr. Strycker's previous job was school superintendent in Algonac, Michigan. In Butler County, he'll be in charge of a $34 million budget and 3,000 students attending seven public schools.

This is his third public school superintendent's job in his 27 years as an educator. He becomes Butler County's 21st public school superintendent.

"Yes, I've always had the fear of coming through for people whether it be my coaches or teachers, but you know what, it's healthy," he said.

In less than two weeks, Strycker will be among the first to welcome students back for the new year, and certainly the first to tell them what 's expected in the classroom.

Classes begin on August 9.

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